McDonald’s Planning to Make Healthier Happy Meals by 2022

The Golden Arches will make Happy Meals more nutritious.

McDonald’s announced early Thursday that before the end of 2022, a minimum of 50% of its Happy Meals it listed on its menus across the globe will have a ceiling of 600 calories, 10% calories from saturated fat, 10% of calories from added sugar and 650 mgs of sodium.

Amongst changes being made by McDonald’s are the implementation of cheeseburgers becoming available as part of an Happy Meal only if request by customers, reducing the size of French fries that accompanies the six-piece McNuggets Happy Meal, cutting the quantity of added sugar in its chocolate milk, and adding as a featured beverage bottled water on its Happy Meal menus.

The company, which is based in Oak Park, Illinois, said it would also look into adding new foods to its Happy Meals, such as Junior Chicken, which is a grilled chicken sandwich that was introduced by McDonald’s Italy last month.

The head of global nutrition for the company said it was a delicate balance as customers look for options that they feel good about eating.

McDonald’s said it is planning to use new marketing, order taking kiosks and new packaging as well as mobile apps as a means to promote its healthier food options for Happy Meals.

Currently, 28% of the combinations offered for Happy Menus on McDonald’s menu boards met the new nutrition criteria of the company in 20 of its major markets that included the United States, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, France, Germany, the UK, Austria, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, China, Hong Kong, Russia, Australia, Taiwan and Japan.

The kid’s food box has often been criticized over the years for promoting unhealthy food. McDonald’s has responded by adding things such as apples dating back to 2004, excluding soda on its menu boards for the Meals and swapping out regular juice for ones that are less sugary and less caloric.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said the company wanted to serve food to kids that the kids want to consume.

Numbers show that on any average day, one of three children in the U.S. will eat fast food and their daily intake of calories is higher than normal on those days, according to a study by an organization that fights obesity.

While research also shows that parents like fast food chains making healthier options for their children, reality changes in a dramatic fashion once inside the restaurant, and the options remain available but French fries smell good to youngsters and they see soda and that changes their mindset.

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